Former Atria senior living worker charged after 2 residents die

2 mins read

An ex-Atria Park employee who worked at a senior living facility in San Mateo has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse after three residents were poisoned.

Alisia Rivera Mendoza, 35, of East Palo Alto, was charged by prosecutors for the triple poisoning in August 2022 that lead to the deaths of two elderly residents. 

According to investigators, Atria Park San Mateo residents were mistakenly served with a cleaning solution that looked like cranberry juice. 

One resident, 93-year-old Gertrude Maxwell died shortly after drinking out of a glass served to her. 

Peter Schroder Jr., 93, was transported to the hospital where he suffered for two weeks until his death. According to daughter Susan Schroder, her father was in “extreme pain.” 

The third resident survived.

Prosecutors said Mendoza’s negligence caused the victims to endure “unjustifiable physical pain and mental suffering.”

According to the death lawsuit, Mendoza reportedly poured cleaner from a heavy 5-gallon container into a small pitcher usually used to serve drinks. Mendoza reportedly got distracted by another task and left the kitchen and the pitcher on the counter. 

A second employee tasked with serving breakfast saw the pitcher and placed it on the breakfast serving counter in the dining room. A third employee poured the red liquid into the residents’ glasses. 

Mendoza will be arraigned in court on May 12 in the Hall of Justice in Redwood City. She remains out of custody.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.